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10 Ways to Solve Real Problems

Solving the wrong problem doesn’t help.

Helping in the wrong way wastes time and resources. Worse yet, helping in the wrong way usually blows up in your face.

Even though it might be dangerous, help is essential to exponential success.

“The people who become superstars are simply those who receive the most help.” Ken Kragen

Wrong problem – wrong help:

Before you offer help, determine the real problem.

Solving symptoms masks real problems.

Do people nod when you give advice, but reject it later? Perhaps you’re solving the wrong problem.

Wrong assumptions result in wrong help.

You may be a quick thinking leader who helps in the wrong way because you falsely believe you understand the real problem. 

10 questions to solve real problems:

Helping in the wrong way hurts.

  1. What are your assumptions? After listening to complaints or concerns, ask, “What problem are you solving?” Pretend you don’t know, even if you think you do.
  2. What are you trying to achieve?
  3. What does life look like if this problem is solved?
  4. What will you be doing when this problem goes away? (Focus on behaviors.)
  5. Who should we add to this conversation?
  6. What makes you think you have a problem?
  7. When did you first notice the problem? What were you doing?
  8. Ask, “Why,” five times. (Sakichi Toyoda’s 5 Whys technique”)
  9. How might we find a new angle? Have dinner. Go for a walk. Play golf and talk about the situation.
  10. Where are you procrastinating? What are you putting off?


Maintain a solution orientation when digging into problems.

Circling a problem creates a back hole – solutions are a ray of light.

How might leaders determine the real problem?

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